February 11, 2023
Today, the world is celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. At Lancaster University Leipzig we are proud to be working with exceptional women in STEM. Prof Amna Asif and Prof Jiejun Hu want to inspire future generations of women around the world to follow their passion for STEM.
They have shared their personal stories about their motivations, professional career journey and what it means to them to be a woman in STEM.
Dr Amna Asif is working as Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Software Engineering at Lancaster University Leipzig in Germany. Before joining Lancaster University Leipzig in Germany, she worked as an Assistant Professor with the Department of Information Systems in the College of Computer Sciences and Information Technology at King Faisal University, Alahsa, Saudi Arabia.
We asked Dr Asif a few questions about her professional journey in STEM.
Why did you decide to study and start your professional career in STEM?
Since my childhood, I have been interested in mathematics. By the time I was completing high school, Information Technology had witnessed a significant boom, and I discovered that computer scientists would be one of the most demanding professionals in the future. So, I decided to study computer science as my professional degree. To my knowledge, I can proudly say that I was the first female in my batch who earned MPhil and PhD degrees. And I am happy with my decision.
What did it mean to you as a woman in your home country?
I started my studies in a small town in Pakistan and awarded with DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) scholarship for my PhD in Germany. A successful journey of completing my doctorate in computer science is a significant achievement, given the limited resources and social and financial challenges.
What does it mean to you to be a successful woman in STEM?
Being an active female member of STEM means a lot to me. I want to develop myself as an extraordinary academician who can inspire pupils through their career paths. I feel over the moon to see our graduates contributing to the betterment of this society in any capacity.
What would you say to young girls and women who think about/dream of having a professional career in STEM? How would you encourage them to follow their dream of a career in STEM?
In my observations, females are more hardworking, supportive and dedicated, so if they choose their careers in STEM then they can attain prominent places in this amazing field.
I encourage young girls and women to develop their professional careers in STEM, as I believe that women can do anything.
Dr Jiejun Hu is Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Lancaster University Leipzig. She received her Ph.D. and MSc in the School of Computer Science and Technology from Jilin University, China, in 2019 and 2015, respectively. She was a senior research officer in the University of Essex, UK. Then, she served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Max-Planck Institute for Human Development, Germany.
When asked about her story with STEM and how she encourages young female to explore this field, Dr Hu said:
I started my journey with computer science through the influence of my father, who is also a university professor in China. When I was in college, computer science barely attracted any women. The subject is considered intellectually intimidating. People may have lower expectations of female students. However, many of my peers and I enjoyed the challenge and showed remarkable resiliency.
I’m grateful and excited to be a lecturer in STEM. I wish to encourage and inspire as many students as possible, particularly female students.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are the foundation of many ultimate questions related to the future of humanity, the environment, and the earth. Having a career in STEM is full of surprises. There are so many opportunities and exciting projects to work on. My message to the girls in STEM: